Thursday, December 5, 2013

City Life

So we made it to Kampala and were able to pick up our race kit for the MTN Kampala half marathon on Sunday. Anne and I were surprised by how well organized the registration process was at Lugogo Airstrip in Kamapla, and were happy to find out that we were indeed registered for the race. We received a yellow drawstring bag which contained our bib, a water bottle, sweat bands, a visor, and a yellow shirt with a huge MTN logo on it to wear during the race. MTN is a phone company, and they had their logo all over the race material.
Riding a boda in Kampala

After getting our race kit Anne and I proceeded to enter the grocery store across the street. Now this store looked like a legit American store, and we spent the next 2 ½ hours roaming through the aisles and jumping up an down like little kids when we found “novelties” like a hair straighter, folders, memory cards, shoes, Christmas decorations, kiwis, “white people” shampoo, and my favorite- a loaf of French bread. People in Kampala sure do have it easy- they have a huge assortment of foods to choose from including a deli section, a wide variety of pasta sauce, and chicken meat for sale that is cut up and prepared. We spent quiet a bit of money on our finds, and made a stop at an ATM. Although our bank accounts sure didn’t like the amount we withdrew we tried to rationalize that we are not here very often, when in Kampala right…?

 By the time we finished shopping in every grocery store they had in the mall strip it was getting dark. We were planning on staying at McCauley House, the house the Holy Cross priests and brothers own in Kampala. We have stayed there before, but we were not entirely sure of how to get there. Street addresses are not common here, and trying to direct someone to a place you aren’t even sure where it is is not easy. Last time we tried to make it to McCauley House our thirty minute trip turned out to be almost two hours of driving around in circles. Needless to say I was a bit worried about getting back especially since it was quickly getting dark and we had our weekend luggage plus several bags containing new purchases we had made. Anne suggested we take the quickest way back- a boda, and I agreed. BIG mistake. That was the most terrifying boda ride I have ever been on. A boda is basically a taxi motorcycle, and they are everywhere in Uganda. I have taken one several times before, but had yet to ride one on this trip to Uganda. First of all it was dark, second of all I had a lot of luggage to fit in between the driver and myself, and third of all their was a lot of traffic. Now traffic is no issue for boda drivers, they just weave in and out of everyone. So imagine being within a foot of cars on each side and going over thirty miles an hour while trying to maintain in contact with Anne’s boda in front of you. Now the roads in Kyarusozi are bumpy and a 4 mile drive can take well over an hour when it rains. Given my slew of car problems/accidents before I left I am a bit traumatized by driving. Two clinic workers we drive with every morning, Grace and Jennifer, picked up on that quiet early, and they always save the spot in the back middle seat of the car for me. They are both a bit larger and they squeeze me into the middle and often hold onto me during the ride when the car is sliding a lot. So without them between me on the boda things felt weird. The ten minute boda ride felt like it was never going to end, and the entire time I was either praying the rosary, wondering where Jennifer and Grace were, or thinking I am going to kill Anne if we make it back alive. Somehow we made it back alive, I was able to get my heart rate back down to normal, and Anne is still here safe and sound J

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